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Hairdressers And Beauticians At Higher Risk Of Ovarian Cancer, New Research Shows

Occupational exposure to chemicals found in the workplace is believed to be a contributing factor.

Hairdressers and beauticians are three times more likely to develop ovarian cancer, according to new research.

Other hazardous occupations include sales and retail, clothing and construction industries.

Exposure to tumor-causing chemicals is believed to be behind the phenomenon.

Particles can travel into a woman’s body and cause inflammation – enabling the cells to flourish.

It’s the first study to identify modifiable environmental factors – including those associated with the workplace.

Hairdressers, beauticians and related workers were most likely to come into contact with ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, organic dyes and pigments, and bleaches, and the second most to talcum powder.

It’s not clear, however, if these associations were driven by a single agent, a combination, or other workplace factors, say the Canadian team.

Specifically, working for 10 or more years as a hairdresser, barber, beautician and in related roles was associated with a three-fold higher risk.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JULY 08: A bride has her make-up applied at a make-up station at The Wedding: New York’s Biggest Day at David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center on July 08, 2023 in New York City. PHOTO BY ALEXI ROSENFELD/GETTY IMAGES 

Employment in construction nearly tripled the risk while, somewhat surprisingly, those in accountancy were twice more prone.

Similarly, long-term work in the clothing industry, including embroidery, was associated with an 85% heightened risk of developing the disease while working in sales or retail was associated with heightened risks, respectively, of 45% and 59%.

The IARC has concluded occupation as a hairdresser or barber entails exposures that are “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

But overall epidemiological evidence for this occupation remains inconsistent for ovarian cancer to date, said Dr Koushik.

Conversely, women working as professional nurses were suggested to have decreased risks.

The findings were based on an analysis of 491 participants in the PROVAQ (PRevention of OVArian Cancer in Quebec) study.

The 18 to 79-year-olds had been recruited from seven Montreal hospitals between 2010 and 2016 after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

More of the women with ovarian cancer had lower educational attainment, shorter oral contraceptive use, and either no or fewer children than the controls – all potential risk factors for the disease.

It’s known as ‘the silent killer’ as symptoms usually develop once it has already spread.

Ovarian cancer strikes 7,400 women in the UK annually, claiming more than 4,000 deaths a year. Swift diagnosis is key.

Currently only around a third of cases are caught early – with the majority at later stages.

Worldwide the number of women being diagnosed is likely to rise to 371,000 a year by 2035. Incidence in the UK is projected to rise by 5 percent.



Produced in association with SWNS Talker

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